Rants

Rants, raves, and general complaining!

_xcsbuildd user preventing logout after running OS X Server

Having given OS X Server a trial-run, I suddenly found that I was encountering all manner of weird system issues:

  • From the Apple menu, About This Mac, Restart…, Shutdown…, and Log Out… could be selected, but did nothing;
  • Complaints when trying to restart/shutdown or when trying to perform other tasks that another user was logged-in and blocking the action;
  • Restarting from the login screen cleared the screen to grey (and still be a usable mouse-cursor) but progressed no further;
  • Graphical logins failing after a reboot as if the password was wrong, despite the same password working for SSH access – but only after a warm restart. Cold-booting still allowed login as expected;
  • Multiple un-named “Admin” accounts in System Preferences’ Users & Groups pane, one of which could not be removed.

Removing OS X Server (drag the application to trash and manually remove /Library/Preferences/com.apple.server* and /Library/Server) didn’t resolve the issue.

It turns out, though, that the problematic behaviour is due to tools which are a part of Xcode but which are invoked by OS X Server – and the fix is maddeningly simple:

To disable the Xcode Server components with:

sudo xcrun xcscontrol --shutdown # Stops Xcode Server

… in order to shutdown all of _xcsbuildd’s processes and prevent restart from being blocked.

However, if you don’t actually need Xcode Server, then running:

sudo xcrun xcscontrol --reset # Resets Xcode Server, removing all service data and stopping all services

… will totally remove all users, services, and system changes. Running this resolved all of the above problems. If only Apple had mentioned this before OS X Server enabled Xcode Server in the first place…

Steam updates and issues

Valve have been busy with Steam recently – amongst the recent launches an updated front page, targeted curated views, and a new music player feature.

However, there are still many (and indeed growing numbers of) rough edges and ill thought-out features.

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Dyn SLA Update – or, How To Lose Friends and Alienate Customers

I today received an email from Dyn (previously DynDNS), stating:

Starting now, if you would like to maintain your free Dyn account, you must log into your account once a month. Failure to do so will result in expiration and loss of your hostname. Note that using an update client will no longer suffice for this monthly login.

(emphasis theirs)

Now, if this were a service which requires interaction then this would be an unfriendly but potentially fair way to weed-out inactive accounts. This isn’t one of those cases, though – I can happily go for months or even years where my only interaction with Dyn(DNS) is via auto-update clients. And this is the heart of the problem – many routers and embedded devices have built-in DynDNS clients, frequently with no option to switch to an alternative service. Possibly this is worth $25/year, possibly it isn’t. Personally, I’m not paying a penny to a company trying to hold its users to ransom like this. For my usage, there are a handful for hostnames in a Dyn(DNS) domain – and therefore these cannot to transferred to a different provider. I keep them going purely so that historic links will still work.

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“Red Wizard needs food, badly” *

Nintendo

This Christmas, I received a single video-gaming related item: Prince or Persia, on the Xbox 360. Actually, I can’t remember the last game I bought for the Wii… it may have been Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Why this (not so) sudden apathy for the saviour of the games console? Because after a dream start to a console which has stratospherically exceeded even their own expectations (and perhaps herein lie the seeds of the problem), Nintendo have failed to capitalise on their lead at almost every juncture.

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Foxconn A79A-S ignores standards, doesn’t work

Read all about it 🙁

(Additionally, the Contact links from their Support Forum return an ASP error page, as does attempting to post any topic whose text includes an apostrophe! Colour me highly unimpressed…)

The scan saga…

… or why I vow never to build a PC ever again 🙁

Having last built a new desktop computer (I do have an ever expanding collection of MiniITX servers, but these don’t count 😉 ) in about 2003, I decided that it was high time to upgrade my 256Mb Athlon 1800+ desktop to something more recent: I was finding that I wasn’t updating my Gentoo Linux installation on the basis that I’d probably be replacing it in the near future, and I really wanted to play a few more interesting recent games such as Bioshock.

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Nintendo Star Points – expressly designed to annoy?

Time was, you bought a new Nintendo game and got a code with it, which you entered into a Nintendo website and got points in return. Never mind that anything worth buying with these points sold out immediately (the used to give away Gameboy Players for the GameCube, and certain NDS games) – people were generally happy. Or, at least, not gnashing their teeth in frustration.

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Nintendo Europe: Not evil, just irredeemably stupid?

There are several things which annoy me about Nintendo right now… amongst them the shameless price-gouging for Virtual Console games, the DRM which prevents you from backing up your saved games from your console to your SD card (what was the thinking behind this one??), the hopelessly slow SD write-speed when you do actually find something that you can copy, the inability to run copied data from the SD card, the lack of any form of online mass-storage support – I could go on.

However, right now, it is Nintendo Europe who are in my cross-hairs – and I’m left wondering exactly what they think they’re playing at.

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Vista design mis-features

Windows Vista? Microsoft Windows Vista? Microsoft Vista? What is this operating system’s name? In any case, it still has may niggly or broken features… I’ve noticed several strange behaviors of Vista since installing it to dual-boot on my MacBook Pro.

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Microsoft Muppetry… who’d’ve thought?

In an act of incredible muppetry, Microsoft have managed to deploy a download system that only works on Windows 🙁

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